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A testimony of passion

A testimony of passion
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At an age when most girls in India are busy discussing Rihanna’s latest album, 14-year-old Ashira Chug was preparing for her Bharatnatyam Arangetram (debut solo performance). The show, which was held at India International Centre recently, was a testimony of the passion and dedication that Ashira has put into her dance for the past seven years.

Ashira, who lives in Kuwait with her parents and sibling, was initiated into Bharatnatyam at the age of six. ‘I was passionate about dance. I had learnt Kathak for six months before taking up Bharatnatyam. One of my friends was learning at Kinkini [an organisation that promotes Indian classical dances] under Guru Rangashree, the artistic director of the organisation. I was drawn to it, and I too joined classes,’ explains Ashira.

During the show, the dancer and her guru were completely at ease. Ashira took the stage with confidence, starting her performance with a pushpanjali to seek the blessings of god, the audience and the guru, before going on to present a Ganesh Vandana, a Kavitvam in the praise of Lord Murugan, Alaripu, Jathiswaram, a Varnam based on Lord Krishna’s leela, two Ahinaya pieces in praise of Lord Ram and Goddess Lakshmi, respectively, Tillana or ending composition and Mangalam, saluting the god, guru and audience for a successful performance.

Throughout the performance, that lasted about two-and-a-half hours, Ashira didn’t miss a beat, nor did she look less than comfortable on the stage. Her expressions varied from silent greeting to respect, playfulness or serious, in keeping with the composition she performed, living up to her guru’s confidence in her.

Ashira was accompanied on the stage by Vidwan DS Srivathsa (vocals), Vidhwan Lingaraju Siddaiah (mridangam) and Vidwan HS Venugopal (flute).

‘I practice about three-four times a week, for an hour each,’ has the dancer. But dancing is only one of her many interests.
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